I am moving to Brooklyn. This doesn’t sound like a big deal to people who don’t live in New York City. One of my friends who doesn’t live in New York City was silent for a long time after I delivered the dramatic news. Then she said, “Isn’t that, like, a mile away?”
“It’s Brooklyn,” I said pointedly. “It’s like this different world.”
It feels like a different world to me. When you see Manhattan from a distance, it’s this dense, pricky, gorgeous anemone, erupting skyward in glinting spines and glittering slabs of glass. Brooklyn, from a distance, is spread out. You can’t see where it ends. You can’t see all of its beginnings. There’s a certain potential in it that Manhattan doesn’t have but substitutes with intensity.
(looking towards Manhattan)
(looking towards Brooklyn)
I decided to move the Brooklyn the way I make all my big decisions: instantaneously.
I’m still waiting for this to catch up with me.
“I want to move,” I told Bear.
Not because of the Upper West Side or the apartment. I love them both.
“Why are you moving?” everyone keeps asking.
“It’s a bad reason,” I begin. I feel like I need a disclaimer.
Because the reason is that I decided to move. And the reason that I decided to move is that I am young. Which even young people often don’t think is a good enough reason.
“Moving is so stressful,” everyone always says. “If I never had to move again, I wouldn’t.”
But I like moving. I love the anticipation. I love the shifting into a slightly different world. I love being forced to finally give away the skirt I’ve been saving for ten years, just in case.
Bear and I hauled bags and bags down to the Salvation Army and Housing Works. Walking home was so much lighter. It felt right.
Originally, I wanted to move downtown. I hadn’t even thought of Brooklyn. Yes, I’m one of those people. The people for whom Brooklyn is another country, with strange customs I don’t care to learn. At least, I was. My Brooklyn friends would come to Manhattan to visit me. Why would I go there?
And then a friend, visiting from Israel, listened to me talking about moving and complaining about how incredibly expensive every single apartment I’d looked at was, and she said, “Go to Brooklyn,” in such an authoritative, clear-minded way that I suddenly thought, “Well, yeah.” Sometimes you just need to be told what to do.
The next day I set up an appointment to see my first Brooklyn apartment. The day after that, I brought Bear back to it. We sat down to talk over pizza and (in his case) salad. There was another couple right after us, scheduled to see the place in an hour. We were the first to see it. And an apartment like that (or like plenty of other things) goes in one-to-two showings, according to, well, New York (and the agent). We had an hour to make our decision.
“Let’s have an adventure,” I said.
“OK,” he said. “Let’s.”
And suddenly we were filling out forms. And suddenly we were going to move to Brooklyn.
“I feel like we might be Brooklyn people anyway,” I said, on the F train heading back to Manhattan.
“I’ve been saying that for a while,” he said.
“I mean, not the Brooklyn people who wear the incredibly skinny jeans and know the names of every modern philosopher so they can get all dismissive when someone mentions one of them.”
“Not the hipsters, no.”
We were a little in shock.
That was a few weeks ago. As you’ve probably noticed, I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it. I think I’ve been a little in denial and a little embarrassed. I feel like I don’t have a really good explanation for doing this.
It’s just that I don’t want to get stuck. And I want to keep learning about new places. And sometimes New York City begins to feel a little like a room with no doors. Why would you need one? Why would you ever need to leave?
I don’t want to leave, but I want to explore.
(the Statue of Liberty, seen from the Brooklyn side of the water)
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Unroast: Today I love my new dress from Housing Works that is actually a nightgown.